Introduction to the Chase Branded Credit Cards

Chase has a variety of name branded credit cards and all but one of them, the Slate, earn Ultimate Rewards points. Each card has its own perks and advantages and this post will compare these benefits across the Chase branded credit cards.

The Chase Slate card is a good choice for people who are looking to either build credit, pay off credit card debt with a 0% APR or balance transfer, or someone looking to get a credit card which gives a credit score on each statement. For someone looking for a rewards credit card, the other Chase credit cards are going to what you’re looking for.

Chase Rewards Cards: Ultimate Rewards (UR) Earning Cards

The Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited credit cards offer:

  1. Freedom
    • 5 points/$ for rotating categories (changing every 3 months)
    • 1x points on all non-category spending
  2. Freedom Unlimited
    • 1.5 points/$ on all purchases; no 5x or 1x categories.

Owning both cards means someone will earn either 1.5 or 5 points/$ spent at no cost because both cards have no annual fee. This quarter (October-December 2016), the 5% category for the Freedom is department stores, wholesale clubs (Sam’s Club or Costco), and drug stores.

Chase offers the Sapphire Preferred (CSP) with:

  • 2 point/$ on travel and dining
  • 1x on all other purchases
  • Redeem 1000 UR points for $12.50 of travel through the UR portal
  • Transfer UR points to partner airlines and hotels
  • No foreign transaction fee

This cards works well to fill the gap between 5x restaurant categories on the regular Freedom and earns more than the flat 1.5x of the Freedom Unlimited. Car rentals are considered travel expenses and the CSP offers primary rental insurance making the CSP a way to reduce the cost of renting a car by not needing to pay for rental insurance.

Chase recently released a new card called the Sapphire Reserve (CSR) and has an annual fee of $450. The perks include:

  • 3 points/$ on travel and dining (compared to 2x for the CSP)
  • 1 point/$ on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit (not just airline fees)
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Global Entry or TSAPreCheck reimbursement
  • 1000 UR points = $15.00 in the UR portal
  • Lounge access through Priority Pass Select with unlimited guests for free

This card fills what I felt was a big void left by Chase for many years. This directly competes with the Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige more than the Chase Palladium did because someone had to be a Chase Private Client (available to people with at least $250,000 in Chase accounts) to apply. $300 annual travel credit is more broadly applied and greater than the $200 and $250 annual airline fee credits offered by the American Express and Citi cards.

Business owners can apply for either the Chase Ink Cash or Ink Plus business credit cards. Both cards earn:

  • 5 points/$ on select business purchases
    • office supply stores
    • cell phones
    • landlines, internet, and TV
  • 2 points/$ at gas stations and hotels
  • 1 point/$ on everything else

The major differences between these two cards is the Ink Cash has a maximum category bonus of the first $25,000 spent in each category and no annual fee whereas the Ink Plus maxes at $50,000 in each category with a $95 annual fee which is not waived.  Also, the Ink Plus has no foreign transaction fee and the Ink Cash has the 3% foreign transaction fee, the same as the Freedom cards have.  Both cards earn UR points and can be switched (product change) to the other after at least 12 months of the card being open.

Ultimate Rewards Points

Like American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase’s Ultimate Rewards (UR) points have a variety of uses, but better with better redemption rates. I will go into detail on how the UR points can be used in a later post, so stay tuned.


You can apply for the Chase Freedom from this link and earn 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $150 in cash back or more) after spending at least $500 in the first 3 months of the account being open.

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